In 1830 William Ruffin Barrow wanted a house. This house would be no ordinary home. It was very elegant and elaborate, suited for a royal family. He built it in the Greek Revival Style and had twenty-eight columns built by his slaves surrounding it. Of course he had the money to do this. His family had been very wealthy and he liked large homes. This was the perfect combination to make an extraordinary plantation.
Greenwood has had many occupants including soldiers from the Civil War, as it served as a hospital then. The Barrow family had established most plantations in St. Francisville, Greenwood being one of them. The Barrow family was large and had many children. They had come from Tennessee using the Natchez Trace, a trail that animals and Native Americans had used. William Ruffin Barrow had taken his first cousin, Olivia Ruffin Barrow as his wife and they had ten children. Five of these children died from illnesses such as, malaria, typhoid, yellow fever, and snakebites. This was very common during this time for children to die. The Barrows grew cotton at first and then switched to sugarcane because it was more profitable. The Barrows later become millionaires because of this switch. William Ruffin Barrow bought 300 acres originally; this grew to 15,000 where 3,000 was used for cotton and 12,000 for the sugarcane. After both parents died the children were all married and running their own plantations. They inherited everything in the house and sold Greenwood. Fourteen families occupied it after the Civil War although some stayed for as little as 5 months! Then in 1915 Greenwood was bought by Walker Percy, who would live in the house with his wife and children for 45 years. The 13 children helped run the plantation until they all were grown and married. When the Great Depression hit America it also struck the Percy's. They were running out of money and were sure to go broke. They sold the house and no one occupied it till 1968.
Greenwood is a living history book full of exiting details hidden beneath the walls. Movies and television series have been shot at the plantation. As well as "North and South" a mini series filmed in 1985. The directors of North and South changed the landscaping and added wallpaper, which is still there today. On August 1st, 1960 Greenwood was struck by lightning and the whole house was burned to the ground except the 28 brick columns. In 1968 William Barnes and his son Richard bought the house to restore it. They completely rebuild the house using photographs sent in from around the country! It took the Barnes 16 years to rebuild Greenwood. Today it looks exactly like it would have when William Ruffin Barrow lived in it. Greenwood is not a historic landmark because it is not the original building that was built on this site.
Greenwood is a very exciting and interesting plantation. It gives you the feeling of the luxury and hard work that was put into a running plantation. I recommend going to this plantation if you ever happen to stop by Louisiana, also known as "Plantation Country"!
Interview with Richard Barnes and Charlotte Mckiethen